There was a sense of excitement and even relief when a downpour of rain finally flooded the Katherine River last week.
But according to veteran weather expert Jim Mathieson, it wasn't nearly enough to save the town from one of the driest years in history.
"While the lawns are growing like mad and it is hard to get clothes to dry, we are looking at a very poor wet season similar to last year."
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Esther tracked west through the Territory last week bringing much-needed rain to large parts of the Top End.
Sidestepping Katherine, the river reached eight metres briefly and Mr Mathieson recorded 40mm in his backyard rain gauge.
It was only the second significant recording of rain this wet season, which usually sees three to four months of consistent downpours.
"I can't see that we could ever catch up. We would need to record about 650mm to make the annual average, and as soon as Esther goes away it is likely there will be nothing left," Mr Mathieson said.
Mr Mathieson moved to Katherine in 1981 to teach math and science and was the official weather observer in town from 2005 to 2011.
A weather enthusiast, he's kept precise daily recordings of rainfall totals.
He says according to unofficial records which date back 150 years, it has been 70 years since Katherine was comparatively dry.
"We didn't get any [rain] at all until January and since the beginning of October (the beginning of the wet season) I have only collected 382mm, the average by now is 820mm."
For the month of January, Mr Mathieson recorded 191mm of rain and 137mm in February, both totals coming in way below average.
"The recent rain we had from Esther may have seemed like a lot, but the average for February is 236mm."
Most years, Katherine's rain totals reach 1100mm across the wet season, which typically ends late in March.
Mr Mathieson says Katherine relies heavily on three to four months of consistent rain to replenish the aquifer, flush out the river and hydrate trees for the dry months ahead.
But with two inadequate wet seasons almost past, the recent deluge hasn't quelled any concerns for the remainder of the year.
"The Katherine River usually rises up to 10 to 12 metres, and I don't think we'll catch up," Mr Mathieson said.
I don't think we will catch upJim Mathieson
"That means trees could die over the dry season because there hasn't been relief.
"There isn't as much rain going into the underground aquifer, bores are likely to dry out once again, and the pastoralists on stations or farmers growing crops would be getting pretty anxious."
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